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Comment 27 of 69, added on December 27th, 2011 at 6:50 PM.
dying is fine) but Death
I believe that what we are supposed to learn from this poem is that dying
is the beautiful, natural ending of life. The wondrous moment when the
spirit leaves the body, while Death is all about hospitals and flatlines,
lawyers and wills, morticians and embalming fluid, all the ways in which we
take nature out of dying.
Claudine Collier-Fanaselle from United States
Comment 26 of 69, added on December 11th, 2009 at 1:26 AM.
I read this completely differently - didn't Cummings often (if not usually)
use the "petit mort" sense of death in his poetry? I don't think I'm
reading too much into this - between "?o/baby" and dying
"perfectly/putting/it mildly lively" versus Death "artificial &/evil &
legal", and "the sin of Death" - I took it as Cummings' irreverent but
heartfelt commentary on the role of sex in society. I don't mean to be
vulgar at all, I just thought that was a characteristic of Cummings' poetry
and automatically read it that way. The more literal interpretation makes
sense too, though, so now I'm not so sure. Does anyone have a link to
Cummings' own reading of the poem?
David from United States
Comment 25 of 69, added on July 12th, 2009 at 11:43 PM.
I really like this poem because I'm trying to understand what is " Death"
asunka from Australia
Comment 24 of 69, added on August 2nd, 2008 at 8:19 PM.
As cummings uses them here, neither dying or death refer to the death of
the body. 'Death' here, is actually a fate worse than death, as we know it.
It is the death or awareness, of feeling and consciousness. It's the
attachment to the world of form and identification with the ego and its
objectification of 'things' (maya).
'Dying' is the awakening into the moment; "when you begin to feel of it".
It's the death of fear, the death of ego, being fully present beyond the
mind "(instead of stopping to think)".
Thus the gratitude for dying and the regret of death.
from United States
Comment 23 of 69, added on May 6th, 2007 at 9:42 PM.
jessie's got it...when he says "dying," he's referring to the physical
cessation of a heartbeat and brain activity. but when he says "Death," it
definitely symbolizes a spiritual death, a loss of one's vivacity and
fervor, a loss of one's beliefs or morals, a loss of one's essential self
(something that, more often than not, occurs while one is still breathing
and physically functioning).the last little part:
we thank thee
almighty for dying
(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death
makes this rather apparent...dying is natural and good, but Death is
justina from United States
Comment 22 of 69, added on April 3rd, 2007 at 5:15 AM.
For what it's worth, I regularly misremember the refrain of this poem as
'Death isn't so bad, but dying, o baby'--the reverse of Cummings'
evaluation of the participle versus the noun. The thinking behind my
misremembering is that the actual experience of 'dying' is terrible,
whereas the abstraction of the noun 'death' is bearable--i think the irony
of Cummings' beginning with the difficult-to-swallow statement 'diung is
fine' should not be lost. . .
Lawrence Besserman from Israel
Comment 21 of 69, added on April 16th, 2006 at 2:26 AM.
Jessie's got it right. dying is physical. death is spiritual. dying just
means your body is dead, you stopped breathing...but your spirit and your
memory lives on. Death means your spirit no longer exists, you're lifeless.
ironically, some people can be Death while they're alive.
Jill from United States
Comment 20 of 69, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 4:29 PM.
The way I feel about the poem is that he talks about how death might be bad
and unwelcoming but it is something from the day we are born, know it will
come. So in that way it is something that we look towards. It talks about
just beofore we die we feel it instead of thinking of it.
Jasmine Stradbrook from Australia
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